It has been said that the best defense is a good offense. As I have continued to meditate on the Psalms this week, I believe that is true, but with a qualification. I have noticed that our strategies for life are often far too wearying for us because we end up on the offensive lines when we shouldn’t be. We become tired and overwhelmed, trudging after the Lord reluctantly. We excuse or eliminate ourselves from His battles because we have already been expended fighting when we were not called to fight. In short, we miss the rest and refreshment He has provided for us along the way.
In my previous post, I wrote about walking closely enough with the Lord that He becomes our shield. (See Psalm 91:4). But He is so much more than that! The moment we find the defensive place of rest in Him, behind His shield, He also becomes our offense. “Because he has set his love on Me, therefore I will deliver him,” reads Psalm 91:14. (NKJV) Have we forgotten that the One who is called “Faithful and True” is a mighty warrior? (Revelation 19:11-16)
God will do battle for us when we cannot. I have experienced this mercy and am so grateful for it! Maturity, however, includes learning to rest in Him and wait for His strategies. In other words, we must let Him pick our battles. Then we will find that we do have the energy to fight when He calls us to fight, or to stand when He calls us to stand.
Our weariness, even our pain sometimes, serves a purpose. Like the dashboard lights in our vehicles, they indicate that it is time for a check-in with our Maker. Only He can correctly diagnose the source of our problem or anxiety, and only He has the remedy – in stock, and ready to install!
I faced just such a check-in recently. Feeling overwhelmed and frustrated about something that wasn’t coming together easily for me, I went to the Lord with my questions. “Worship Me,” He said.
I confess that I did not want to worship at the time. I was tired and annoyed, and quite frankly, felt that it would be a waste of my time, especially when this issue needed immediate resolution. I had made the problem so big that I couldn’t focus on anything else, not even the Lord.
Reluctantly, I turned on whatever CD was in the player at the time and “tried” to worship Him. Those of you who know me well will see the humor in this, because I am at heart a worshiper and love being in His Presence! But not that day!
It took several songs to soften my heart. In the middle of the third song, lost in worship with Him, I suddenly knew exactly what had to be done. The answer came quickly to my heart and He showed me the solution. Then He told me that this problem was nothing more than a “bump in the road,” and I was ashamed at how much I had worried about something so minor.
Psalm 94:19 came alive to me that day: “In the multitude of my [anxious] thoughts within me, Your comforts cheer and delight my soul!” (Amplified)
"Wherever the river goes, everything will be
restored and able to live."
~ Ezekiel 47:9b, CJV
We do not have to struggle through this wilderness we call life, on our own. As Rick Joyner so aptly describes in his new book, The Path, there is a river of life running all along the path of our journey to the mountain of God. We have only to stop and be refreshed whenever we need its life-giving energy. Ezekiel writes of this river, saying: “…wherever the river goes, everything will be restored and able to live.” (Ezekiel 47:9b, CJV).
So many of us don’t take the time to rest, pray, and listen at the river, and we won’t be prepared for the coming battles we are called to fight. We would never expect to survive life in the natural without continuous access to fresh water, so why do we neglect to give our spirits the water we need? There is certainly nothing heroic about collapsing on the path because we have failed to drink the water He has provided through His Word and His Spirit!
“Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) is the man whom You discipline and instruct, O Lord, and teach out of Your law, that You may give him power to keep himself calm in the days of adversity, until the [inevitable] pit of corruption is dug for the wicked. (Psalm 94:12-13, Amplified; emphasis mine).
I think, perhaps too simplistically, that one of the greatest battles we face on our Christian journey is the battle of self-discipline. We must ask the Lord to help us choose Him on a daily basis. This choice will protect us from danger, but it will also give us the strength and courage to fight the true battles: those to which we are commissioned for the sake of His Kingdom.
c. Deborah Perkins, 2014
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A severe hearing loss from childhood caused Deborah Perkins to develop what she now calls her secret weapon: tuning in to God's voice. A Wellesley College graduate and an award-winning writer, Deborah is now a wife and mother of 3 boys. Deborah has devoted over 25 years to professional and lay Christian ministry in New England and beyond. Her passion is inspiring people to cultivate greater intimacy with God.